LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey are usually on the same side of the fence when it comes to law enforcement, but the two officials could be at odds over a Los Angeles police shooting incident last May 5 on Venice Beach that left a homeless man dead.
Beck wants the police officer who shot and killed Brendon Glenn to be criminally prosecuted for what has been ruled an out-of-policy shooting. He said so in January and he reiterated it this week.
Lacey, who first got Beck’s recommendation in January, has yet to file charges against LAPD Officer Clifford Proctor.
The shooting became an issue again April 12 when the Police Commission determined, on Beck’s recommendation, that the shooting of Glenn was unjustified.
In his report to the commission, Beck said there was no evidence to independently show there was a “perception that a deadly threat was present.”
Based on surveillance footage from a nearby bar, “at no time during the incident can Glenn’s hand be observed on or near any portion” of one of the officer’s holster, or that the officer was trying to push away Glenn’s hand from the holster, according to Beck’s report.
Lacey’s office has yet to determine whether it will file criminal charges against Proctor, according to District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Jane Robison.
Los Angeles County prosecutors have not charged a law enforcement officer for an on-duty shooting in 15 years, regardless of the circumstances.
The May 5, 2015, shooting came amid a strident national conversation about police use of force, particularly against black men. Glenn was black, as is Proctor.
After reviewing video, witness accounts and other evidence, LAPD investigators determined Glenn was not trying to take either Proctor’s gun or his partner’s weapon, according to the chief.
Proctor’s partner told investigators he did not know why the officer opened fire.
Proctor’s attorney, Larry Hanna, has defended his client’s decision to shoot, telling the Los Angeles Times the officer saw Glenn going for his partner’s gun — even if his partner may not have realized it.
Although a security camera captured the events leading up to the shooting, Hanna said both of Glenn’s hands could not be seen for the entirety of the recording.
Hanna has accused LAPD brass of making a “political decision,” saying the chief spoke too early about the case last year when he publicly questioned Proctor’s actions just hours after the shooting. But the attorney said he believes Lacey’s office will “make the right decision” and decline to file charges against the officer.
Mayor Eric Garcetti, whose father Gil served as district attorney from 1992 to 2000, has urged prosecutors to review the case “with the utmost gravity.”
“No one is above the law, and whenever use-of-force crosses the line, it is our obligation to make sure that principle is upheld,” he said. “Our officers perform heroic work every day, work that often goes unheralded. But accountability is fundamental to the trust that needs to exist between our officers and the people they serve — and maintaining that trust is essential to keeping our neighborhoods safe.”